recycling one use

Source: Press Association

Only 38% of respondents said they knew what could and couldn’t be recycled

Consumers put nearly all plastic in the recycling bin even though they may not necessarily be sure whether it’s possible to recycle, research for The Grocer suggests.

The YouGov survey paints a picture of confusion, in which 67% claimed to recycle ‘all or almost all’ plastic - but only 38% said they knew what could and couldn’t be recycled. Of 2,056 UK adults, 97% found plastic ‘easy’ to recycle, and 51% ‘very easy’ - but 52% only had ‘some understanding’ of what the local authority accepted and 10% didn’t know.

Plastic fared better than metal, which only 31% found ‘very easy’ to recycle and 50% recycled ‘all or most of’.

Many shoppers struggle to make sense of on-pack recycling labels - 42% found them hard to understand, including 9% who said it was ‘very’ difficult. Only 11% said it was ‘very easy’.

And while an imminent deposit return scheme may be a current focus for the industry, half of respondents said they didn’t even know what the phrase meant.

Nevertheless, 83% felt more could be done to encourage recycling, and 82% felt supermarkets were not doing enough to reduce single-use food packaging.

A separate survey of 1,018 shoppers by consumer research consultancy Shoppercentric found 63% wanted a ban outright on non-recyclable packaging. Some 82% considered ‘environmentally friendly’ labelling in buying decisions, according to the survey.

In a third survey this week, Barclays Corporate Banking reported that 46% said offering rewards would be the most effective way to persuade them to make ‘greener’ choices.

For younger consumers, aged 18 to 34, the figure was even higher, with 54% saying they wanted discounts or vouchers to change their behaviour.